The Bahrain Grand Prix kicked off with the same question as the Chinese Grand Prix just a week earlier—does Ferrari have the pace to take the fight to Mercedes? The question wasn’t just centered on race pace but qualifying as well.
Ferrari was able to split the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in qualifying to start the race on the front row in the capable hands of Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari qualified just four tenths off the pole-sitting pace of Hamilton which is a full second faster than their debut qualifying performance in the season-opening race in Australia.
Regardless of qualifying pace, Ferrari did manage to make a race of it in Bahrain by keeping Mercedes frosty with strategy, tire choices and pace. Lewis Hamilton managed his race, tires, pace and fuel usage to take the victory in fine fashion. Lewis did face some pressure from his teammate, Rosberg, who was under some pressure from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen setting fast laps on option tires toward the end of the race.
The drama for Mercedes was ramped up significantly on the final few laps of the race with a brake failure for both cars. The issue cost Rosberg a 2nd place finish to Kimi Raikkonen and had there been one more lap, Lewis himself may have lost the race to Raikkonen.
It was an obvious win for Hamilton who managed his race from start to finish. Under some pressure after struggling with a slow pit stop, Hamilton lost a good chunk of his gap to Rosberg early on but took control of his race and spread his lead out to take the win, with pace in hand, despite having brake issues on the final lap. He said it wasn’t an easy race but not too much pressure.
Nico Rosberg drove a terrific race as well passing Vettel twice on track for second position and wringing the neck of his Mercedes for some great racing but a brake failure on the penultimate lap cost him second place to Raikkonen.
Equally, a win for Kimi Raikkonen who started the race in fourth place and made serious progress on Prime tires for his second stint and reduced big gaps down to marginal ones to finish just ahead of Rosberg for second.
Valtteri Bottas needed to recover his form after being bested by his teammate, Felipe Massa, in China. He did so by claiming 4th just ahead of a struggling Sebastian Vettel who had to take a nose change after running off track.
A win for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who finished sixth in dynamic fashion with a massive engine blow-up on the last lap, last turn to coast over the finish line. His teammate, Daniil Kvyat also had a nice drive back into the points to claim 9th place.
A big win for McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who nearly made the points finishing 11th and that’s quite an improvement from just three races ago. Before you get grumpy over being lapped, keep in mind that McLaren just beat the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson with Ferrari shove so that’s quite an achievement.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean finished in the points in a race that saw his teammate down in 15th. The Frenchman delivered a solid drive to claim much-needed points.
Williams driver Felipe Massa couldn’t get away from formation lap and had to start from the pit lane. An unfortunate start as Massa produced a nice drive to finish in the points and most likely would have been much farther up the grid had they not had an issue. Massa was also tapped by Maldonado that the Brazilian feels compromised his car balance.
Mercedes suffered a brake failure on both cars that cost them second place and nearly could have cost them the win. A chink in the armor of reliability for the team with Toto Wolff saying that the team had let his drivers down with brake issues but nevertheless, the team squeaked out a win and double-podium finish.
Toro Rosso had a dual DNF and McLaren’s Jenson Button failed to even start the race.
Renault said they feared reliability in this race with an identified piston issue in their current specification and Ricciardo may have experienced that first hand along with Toro Rosso. This leaves both Red Bull drivers with their third engines on the season in which only five are allowed.
Williams leaving Mass stalled on the grid for the formation lap was a WTH moment along with Pasto Maldonado’s first lap in which he seemed to be testing the runoff areas of every corner.
Another WTH moment was Maldonado’s pit stop which was quite long as the team examined the rear of the car. Meanwhile, the front brakes were smoking quite a bit as they had not fitted blowers in the ducts to cool them down. An excitable pit lane marshal decided to start hosing the front of the car down with his fire extinguisher only to be met by a Lotus mechanic who clobbered him and shooed him away from the car.
With all the restraint one could muster, Lewis refrained from spraying any of the podium hostesses for some strange reason.
Apparently the dress code for the Sky Sports F1 gentlemen are skinny jeans and a button-up dress shirt. How did Johnny Herbert and Crofty end up getting dark buttons while the others were relegated to white or clear buttons? That’s just wrong.
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||1h35m05.809s|
|2||Kimi Raikkonen||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||3.380s|
|3||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||6.033s|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing||Williams/Mercedes||42.957s|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||43.989s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Renault||1m01.751s|
|7||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team||Lotus/Mercedes||1m24.763s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Renault||1 Lap|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|11||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team||Lotus/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|16||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team||Marussia/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|17||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team||Marussia/Ferrari||3 Laps|
|–||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda||McLaren/Honda||Not started|